My Royal Pen-Pal, Prince Charles

I can’t remember when exactly I first became enchanted by all things English, but my obsession had to have started when I was pretty young.

By the time I reached my early teens, I was a bigger fan of the Beatles and England’s royal family than I was of any American entertainer I could name.

In 1969 I was 14 years old, and it seemed to me the most natural thing in the world to follow all the news that year about the royal family’s plans to celebrate Prince Charles’ 21st birthday.

I knew all about the preparations—that Prince Charles admired Mozart, so violin maestro Yehudi Menuhin was engaged to play Mozart’s masterpieces at his party. And that Charles was an amateur cellist, so Maurice Gendron—the world’s premier cellist at the time—would also play. To me, it all sounded elegant and lovely and veddy, veddy British.

So I did what any royalty-obsessed 14 year old American girl would do. I sent Prince Charles a birthday card. And I didn’t tell anyone what I’d done.

At 14 I didn’t know anything about postage costs, and I’m pretty certain I dropped the card in a mailbox with only a single U.S. postage stamp affixed to the envelope. Kudos to our postal system at the time (and to the U.K.’s as well) because my card arrived at Buckingham Palace (probably with postage due) in time for Prince Charles’ birthday on November 14, 1969.

How do I know it arrived? Because I received a reply.

A month after Prince Charles’ birthday shindig, I came home from school to find this waiting for me:

At first I didn’t know what it was, so I was a little rough when I tore open the envelope. But when I saw the letter inside, I was first surprised, then astonished.

Never in my wildest fourteen-year-old dreams did I expect to receive a reply to the birthday card I sent!

I showed the letter to my mother when she got home from work, and she promptly carried the letter up and down the street to show all the neighbors.

Heaven only knows if Prince Charles ever actually saw the card I sent, or if my card went directly into the rubbish bin once his secretary made a note of its receipt; but the important thing for me was that I received a reply. The whole experience had such an impact on me, I’ve kept the letter all these years with just a few other treasured mementos from childhood.

That’s the story of how December 11 became something of a special anniversary for me (since that was the postmark date on the envelope). But more important, it’s the date that marks the end a two-month long, two-item pen-pal correspondence I had with Prince Charles that made me feel special, and earned me thirty minutes of fame in my neighborhood.

 

 

5 thoughts on “My Royal Pen-Pal, Prince Charles

  1. Oh Nancy! How exciting that must have been! Good for you and everyone involved in getting that birthday to England! I think it is wonderful that you saved it too. Besides, you got more than anyone else as fame is much more fleeting these days…15 minutes!

    I hope you are keeping well and getting ready for the holidays. Have a wonderful holiday and let’s hope the New Year is better and brighter!

    Take Care

    • Hello, Carole! I’m looking forward to 2021 as well. I have a list of people I want to give a great big hug as soon as it’s safe to do so!

      Merry Christmas to you and yours, Carole! I wish you a happy and health new year.
      Nancy

  2. It was lovely to hear your story concerning Prince Charles. He is very polite and appreciates kindness. I can well understand how you felt at that time. Just great to receive a reply for merely sending a birthday card!
    It’s also really great for me to hear that you are enchanted with all things English. I very much appreciate that. As would most people in our country.
    Hope you have a lovely Christmas. And stay safe.

    • Thank you for your good wishes, Dawn! Did I mention in my blog post that I had a bit of a crush on Prince Charles in my teens? He always seemed to me to be a kind and caring person, who wanted nothing more than to do some good in this world.
      I wish you a happy and blessed new year!

      • Well, you don’t use those actual words, as is clear from your blog. But I did get the impression that you might have had a crush on him! He is a kind and caring person, and does a great deal to try to help other people. The Prince’s Trust is one of his organisations that has helped so many young people who were in great difficulties.

        Thank you for your good wishes, and I hope you will find 2021 a much better year..

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